Film Review: HIT MAN (2023): Glen Powell Turns in a Fine Performance in a Twisty Original Film Directed by Richard Linklater SuperNayr

Adria Arjona Glen Powell Hit Man

Hit Man Review

Hit Man (2023) Film Review, a movie directed by Richard Linklater, written by Skip Hollandsworth, Glen Powell and Richard Linklater and starring Glen Powell, Adria Arjona, Retta, Austin Amelio, Molly Bernard, Mike Markoff, Beth Bartley, Evan Holtzman, Julia Holt, Roxy Rivera, Sanjay Rao, Richard Robichaux, Morgana Shaw, Kate Adair, Ritchie Montgomery, Jo-Ann Robinson and Jordan Salloum.

Director Richard Linklater’s new outrageously funny comedy, Hit Man, is smart and wildly entertaining throughout. This is one of Linklater’s crispiest scripts (he co-wrote it) and it casts the sensational Glen Powell in the movie’s slick and juicy leading role.

Powell plays a college professor named Gary Johnson. He teaches different disciplines in the social sciences and drives a Honda Civic. He seems pretty smart and ordinary but he also side hustles as an undercover operator for the police. Gary works mostly with the law enforcing characters played by Retta and Sanjay Rao to bring down lowlifes who think Gary is a hit man. The run-of-the-mill losers Gary meets all end up in court when they try to pay Gary to bump someone off. When Gary is asked by a beautiful woman named Madison Masters (Adria Arjona) to bump off her husband, Ray (Evan Holtzman), Gary takes a liking to Madison. Never mix business with pleasure. Unless, of course, you’re head over heels in love.

Linklater’s film is driven by a lot of plot twists. The biggest one being that Gary and Madison secretly carry out a torrid love affair while Gary is pretending to be a hit man and donning offbeat disguises to bring down low lives for the cops in the interim. When Powell and Arjona share the screen, there is magic displayed on the screen thanks to Linklater’s precision as a director and Powell’s flawless line delivery. Powell has a natural charisma which manifests itself throughout the picture. Arjona matches Powell note for note in their romantic scenes together.

Austin Amelio plays Jasper. This is the person in the film who originally brought down the characters seeking a hit man before Gary took the job over. Jasper spots Gary and Madison out together one night and knows something’s up. Meanwhile, a major plot twist places Ray’s life in great jeopardy as secrets may be revealed which could shed impending doom on the romance formed by Gary (who has lied about his name to his new lover) and Madison. Amelio turns in an excellent performance as an unpredictable driving force of the plot.

One humorous scene has Madison confronting Gary about his so-called profession as a hit-man. Gary seems not to be as daring as he originally represented himself to be and hilariously replies, “I don’t go around killing people for no money.” This film walks a tightrope of being a unique story with true origins to being something of a cinematic rarity. There is not a moment in the film that doesn’t feel enjoyable to watch. However, the plot twists build in such a way that audiences could be wary of some of the movie’s last-minute revelations. Still, Hit Man is generously laced with unique dialogue and situations that will draw the viewer in and leave audiences wanting more.

Particularly effective are the scenes right before the losers Gary gets booked at the precinct realize they’ve been had. Each character seems to realize they’ve been played by the professional that is Gary. Also, the disguises Gary dons are funny and keep the tone of the film lighter than it could have been. Gary pops in false teeth and wears wigs from time-to-time and all that jazz. It’s a cute touch to the movie that gives it character.

If Powell is the most valuable player here, then Arjona is the film’s brightest light. The two have some sizzling chemistry together. They play off each other with terrific precision that holds the film together. The supporting cast holds their own with Amelio the movie’s true stand-out in the smaller roles within the picture.

Linklater makes a few missteps here. Sometimes Gary seems to take too many big risks with Madison. Gary seems too smart to make some of the moves he does in the film and that detracts from the movie’s plausibility factor whether it’s based on reality or not. When he pulls a gun on Madison’s ex, for example, it seems like something Gary wouldn’t do knowing he could well get in trouble with the law for doing so.

But, then again, Linklater has a few wild cards up his sleeve and in the final moments of Hit Man, everything coalesces to form a wonderfully enjoyable whole. Hit Man is fearless, funny and twistier than an over-sized pretzel. Powell is a star in his own right and together with Arjona, Powell emerges as one of Hollywood’s most valuable leading men in a movie which isn’t quite perfect yet is perfectly watchable in every way, shape and form.

Rating: 8/10

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